Making the Gospel a Review, Not a Revelation

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by Emily

When I first became a parent I believed that it was primarily my husband’s and my responsibility to teach our kids the gospel.  We held Family Home Evenings and would also talk about gospel topics as they came up, such as life after death.  I was amazed with my four-year-old son’s questions about what happened after we died!  However, as time went on, I realized how grateful I was for Primary to fill in the gaps because there were things we were missing.  I was pleased, yet sometimes distraught, that my kids came home from Primary knowing some aspect of the gospel that we hadn’t taught them.

I think back to October 2007 when Julie Beck in her Mothers Who Know address stated:

Think of the power of our future missionary force if mothers considered their homes as a pre–missionary training center. Then the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC would be a review and not a revelation.

I was excited by that statement, yet I don’t know that I changed anything in my behavior to prepare and teach my children to know and share the gospel.

Then in the opening session of General Conference in October 2012, President Monson really encouraged me to act on Sister Beck’s words when he announced: “All worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19,” and “I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”

I was stunned.  I had not been expecting that at all.  We just lost a year in preparing our young son for his future mission.  He was now half way to mission age, rather than less than half way.  I know those of you with older children are laughing at me now, but as a parent of young children, this was a big deal. Half way is a milestone!  Additionally, I realized that the chances of our daughters serving missions increased significantly.  They now don’t have several years after high school to get things figured out and decide if they want to go.  They now have the opportunity to go almost immediately post-high-school.  Our children needed to be prepared before, but this felt so serious, so immediate, that I really wanted to do something more now.

What sealed the deal was when Elder Quentin Cook, right after President Monson’s announcement, said:

The days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord.

I will restate that:  The days are gone when just going to church will teach my kids how to be good, God-fearing people.  I, in my home with my husband, need to teach them this.  We also need to teach them how to share this goodness.

We decided that to be more proactive, we would use Preach My Gospel as the basis for our Family Home Evening lessons.  Clearly, the audience for the publication is a bit more mature than our young children, but we’ve begun to adapt it.  So far, I’ve chosen a topic from the book, used from that section what was appropriate for our family, then added ideas from FHE and Primary lessons to help teach the concepts.

The first lesson, on prayer, went a little long.  The second lesson, on personal revelation, was just about right.  We’ve been surprised at what our kids don’t know, yet glad for their willingness to learn.  With the small segments that we’re covering each week, I think we’ll have enough lessons to last several years!  It feels good to be more assertive in teaching our kids the gospel and how to share it so that someday “the doctrines of the gospel taught in the MTC [will] be a review and not a revelation.”

  • How did the announcement of earlier missionary ages affect you?
  • What are you doing to teach the gospel in your home?
  • Have you used Preach My Gospel to teach your children?  How?   What worked well?

About Emily

I'm a busy mom of 4 living in Utah and have been married for 14 years. I went to Ricks & BYU and have a BS in Health Science and minors in History and International Development. I did my student teaching in Western Samoa. If I ever have time, I enjoy blogging and sewing (especially re-enactment sewing), but usually I'm just trying to make time to exercise and clean the house. I hope to someday remodel and get more into historical research.

6 Responses to Making the Gospel a Review, Not a Revelation

  1. Jendoop says:

    We used Preach My Gospel to teach our kids about the Holy Ghost. There was much more material than we could cover in one night, which is a good thing! It’s densely packed with doctrines and ways to act on doctrine.

    Another great tool for FHE is For the Strength of Youth. The guidelines are helpful, but not specific enough for daily use so we talk with our children about how those standards translate to everyday life and what their concrete actions will be based on those standards. It is a good review for me too.

  2. Bonnie says:

    Our kids are older, and they alternate teaching lessons from PMG, but to be frank, we haven’t used it the way we could have. A lot of our FHEs, which could happen any day of the week so they probably don’t count (actually we probably just have more family councils than any other family in the church but are total slackers on FHE), are usually me sitting down with my kids and talking about something I’ve realized about the gospel or something I discovered in my own research or scripture reading. I gave copies of PMG to all the kids and it’s supposed to be a teaching tool that opens conversations, but I don’t follow up as often as I could. New goal!

  3. lhamer says:

    My reaction, well since my son is on a mission right now was, if they did this last year, he could be coming home soon. I’m sure I came up lacking in the teaching department. We struggled with FHE, but we openly discussed gospel topics and modeled living the gospel in our home. I guess I did the best I could.

  4. Becca says:

    Every time I read or hear about teaching our children in the home, I am reminded of Elder Bednar’s talk from April 2010 Conference when he talked about “bearing testimony spontaneously”. We have tried to make that a practice in our home. We will talk about the gospel in the car, at breakfast, at bedtime, during potty training, riding bikes to school, you name it, if a topic comes up, we cover it. We have a gospel conversation about whatever, wherever, whenever. I can tell that having gospel conversation/testimony bearing be spontaneous, and any time of the day in any situation has been a big benefit. Our oldest is only 5, but he will ask us gospel questions (or bear his testimony to US) any where, any time, and about any thing.

    We’ve been using FHE for gospel topics that have come up in other discussions and brought a gap to our attention. If we see something is missing in their understanding of the topic, and it’s too much to cover in a few minutes of conversation, we’ll use that as a topic at our next FHE.

  5. Becky L. Rose says:

    Heather over at Women in the Scriptures is doing Home MTC starting NOW- Jan 2013.

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